It’s fair to assume that everyone has salt in their kitchen. As a staple spice, salt can be used to season nearly any food. But this popular spice has several other uses that most people don’t know about. For instance, have you ever thought of using salt to clean your coffee maker?
According to Food Microbiology, salt is a powerful antibacterial and antiseptic. You can use regular table salt to clean many of your belongings and even to help out your hair. Read on for some amazing and incredible ways you can use salt.
Scrub Away Pan Grease
Salt is both a scouring agent and a catalyst for other ingredients. By tossing it into cleaning recipes, salt boosts the deodorizing action of dishwasher soaps. Sprinkle some onto your grease-coated pan and scrub. The thicker the salt, the better it’ll clean.
If you have an old cast iron skillet, try this trick without the soap. Coat the skillet with salt and leave it for about ten minutes. Then, grab a damp towel, sponge, or other cleaning tool and have at it. The salt should scrub away the grime.
Clean Your Iron With Salt
If you run your clothing iron over a stain, you may end up with gunk on your tool. Don’t transfer this mess onto your next shirt — clean it off with salt. Even if salt goes on the hot iron, it won’t melt. Salt has a melting point of 1,473°F, whereas clothing irons usually go up to 445 °F at the hottest.
Because the salt won’t melt, it’ll scrub off any lingering residue. Sprinkle a sheet of paper with salt and rub your warm iron over it. After you run it a couple of times, turn off the heat, and once it’s cooled, wipe off the residue with a soft cloth.
Salt Alleviates Bug Bites
According to a 2006 study in Food Microbiology, salt is an antimicrobial that reduces bacteria. This property makes salt perfect for bug bites, especially mosquito bites. If your bug bite is itching like crazy, try this hack.
Mix salt with a small amount of water. When we say small, we mean small; you want to mix the saltwater into a paste. Rub the mixture onto your bite. Alternatively, you can dampen the bug bite and gently rub salt over it. If you choose this method, opt for a fine salt that won’t irritate the bug bite further.
Clean Your Coffee Maker
The National Sanitation Foundation determined that coffee makers are the fifth filthiest item in a person’s home. Not only are they rarely cleaned, but they also attract bacteria by remaining moist and warm for long periods of time. For an easy clean, run salt water through the machine.
Fill the coffee pot with water and add four tablespoons of salt. Then run the coffee pot as usual. The salt will kill much of the bacteria, and it’ll remove the bitterness left from previous coffee batches. To eliminate the saltiness, run pure water through the coffee maker. Note: this works on regular coffee makers… don’t try on your Keurig!
Save Your Bitter Drinks With Salt
Chef and author Alton Brown recommends a peculiar method to neutralize the bitterness of coffee. Before you brew your cup of joe, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the grounds. This will lower the acidity in your coffee and make it taste sweeter.
This trick has a biochemical basis. Salt’s ion Na+ interferes with the chemical that causes the bitter taste. You can use this same trick on a cup of hot chocolate or bitter tea. And if you end up with coffee stains on your mug, brush it off with saltwater.
Save Your Sponges From A Grimy Death
If your kitchen sponge has become dirty and gross, don’t throw it away just yet. Fill a bowl with salt water–about 1/4 cup of salt per two cups of cold water. Toss the sponge in and let it soak overnight. By morning, you should be able to remove most of the gunk.
The salt should slowly replace all the space in the sponge, which pushes the dirt out. This trick may not work with some artificial sponges if they have large holes. If this is the case, run your sponge through the dishwasher instead.
Have you ever tried Epsom salt treatments? They work because salt is a natural exfoliator. And if you have dandruff, you need an exfoliator. Rub some Epsom salt through your hair and scalp to clear away the dead skin.
Before washing, massage salt granulates into your dry or slightly damp hair. Rub it in for two to three minutes to thoroughly rub away the dead skin. Once you’re done, you can shampoo and rinse as normal. Depending on the severity of the dandruff, you can use this treatment two to three times a week.
Make A Natural Probiotic
Did you know that fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) is an excellent probiotic? It’s also very easy to make it at home. Here’s how to do it. First, take a head of cabbage and carefully cut the core out. Set the core aside.
Next, pour about a tablespoon of finely ground salt into the hole. It will mix with the cabbage’s juices and start to ferment. Submerge the cabbage in water and leave it at room temperature for at least one month and up to six months. Once it suits your tastes, shred the cabbage and store in mason jars.
Salty Water Chills Your Drinks In No Time
If you want to chill your beer quickly, try this: fill a cooler with water, ice cubes, and salt. Don’t worry about overdoing the salt. Without shoving them too close together, place your beer bottles into the solution. They should chill within five minutes.
If you want the science behind this hack, here it is. Every liquid has a “freezing point depression,” or a minimum temperature in which it freezes. Typically, water freezes at 32°F. But if you mix salt in water, it lowers the water’s freezing point. This is because salt’s ions prevent the molecules from crystallizing easily.
Extend The Life Of Dairy Products
As weird as it sounds, salt is an ideal dairy preservative. Salt soaks up excess moisture and prevents mold from forming. To help your cheese last longer, soak a napkin in saltwater and cover the cheese with it.
You can also keep milk fresh by adding a pinch of salt to its contents. The amount of salt is so small that you won’t taste it, although it should keep the carton fresh for about a week past its expiration date.
Keep Lettuce Crisp
Nobody likes soggy lettuce. If you want to keep your salad crisp, sprinkle some salt on top of the greens. It’ll flavor the salad and preserve your lettuce for a little while. After all, salt has preserved food for years.
Here’s the scientific explanation: Salt draws water out of cells through osmosis. A little bit of salt will draw out enough water to keep your lettuce crunchy. If you add too much, though, it’ll remove too much water from the cells to keep them alive. This is how salt kills certain bacteria.
Prevent Cut Fruit From Going Brown
When fruit slices come into contact with oxygen, they gradually turn brown. You can preserve fruit’s color by submerging it in water, although this process alone opens your food up to bacteria. Fortunately, salt’s antibacterial properties make it very difficult for organisms to survive.
If you want to prolong the life of your cut fruit, place the food in a large bowl, and submerge them in water. Add some salt and let it soak. You may notice the salt depositing into your fruit, which indicates that it’s re-saturated. Remove the fruit after five to ten minutes.
Salt Removes Red Wine Stains
Salt promptly absorbs water, which makes it great for soaking up stains. If you spill red wine onto the carpet, dump salt onto the wet stain and wait for 10 to 15 minutes. Then vacuum it up. Unlike other home solutions such as white wine, salt fully lifts the stain.
For clothing stains, sprinkle salt onto the red spot and wait at least three minutes. Rinse it with cold water. If the stain is still there, repeat the process until the redness disappears, then launder your clothes as usual.
Restore Stained And Yellowed Towels
After months of use, our linens can appear blotchy or even yellowed. Regular detergent doesn’t restore the color much. Salt can brighten the colors on fabrics, but only use this method for single-colored linens such as towels.
Add 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of salt into 1/2 gallon of water. Boil the towels in this mixture for one hour. Repeat until the linens look better. Alternatively, you can pour 1/4 cup of salt into one gallon of hot water and leave the towels in there for 48 hours. Rinse thoroughly and dry as usual.
Remove Lipstick Stains From Glassware
Lipstick stains are hard to remove from glassware. Because lipsticks contain emollients that are designed to stay on your lips, they’re hard to wash off of cups. A casual run through the dishwasher may not help, but salt should.
Before you run these glasses through the wash, rub off the lipstick stains. Sprinkle some salt on a damp washcloth and use it to rub away the stain. If the spot remains, you can try the same method with rubbing alcohol. Then wash your cup in the dishwasher as usual.
Clear Out Your Drains
Salt isn’t just an antiseptic. It also boosts the cleaning powers of other antibacterials such as vinegar. If you mix the two, you can create a solution strong enough to clear your sink or bathroom drain.
To start, stir one cup of salt into one cup of vinegar until the solution appears even and smooth. Pour the mixture into the drain and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Then, boil two cups of water and send that down the drain. You can also send dry salt down the drain and pour boiling water over it.
Make Your Shoes Smell Fresh Again
After long periods of wear, our shoes tend to smell bad. This odor comes from bacteria that develop through heat and sweat. Salt not only dries the moisture, but it also wipes out most of the bacteria. If you pour salt into your shoes, you can make your gym bag smell okay again.
To get rid of bad smells, add two teaspoons of salt into each shoe. Leave it in there for at least two hours. To make things easier, you can leave the salt in your shoes overnight. Similarly, you can rub your feet with vinegar and salt to remove odor.
Tame The Flames, Especially With Grease Fire
Because salt has such a high melting point, large quantities of it can put out fires. If you have a fireplace, you can extinguish the flames by pouring salt on them. The fire will go out quickly, and you’ll have an easier clean-up time.
If you ever encounter a grease fire, pour salt on it instead of water. Pouring water will only spread the oil, thereby spreading the fire. Use salt or baking soda to lower rogue flames on a grill or frying pan.
Prevent Candles From Dripping
Some people love the look of dripping wax on candles. If you don’t want to hassle with them, though, you can prevent the drip altogether. You just need to soak your candles in saltwater after purchasing.
To start, boil two cups of water and add 1/2 tablespoon of salt. (You can double this recipe for larger candles.) Once the salt stops dissolving, you’ll know that your water is entirely saturated. Turn off the heat. Add your candles and leave them for at least two hours. Don’t forget to dry them before you light the wick!
Freshen Your Breath And Relieve Pain
Gargling lukewarm saltwater has plenty of benefits. For one thing, it kills the bacteria in your mouth, namely in the back of your throat. If you gargle saltwater near the back of your tongue, the salt should break down the oils in your mouth. Your breath will smell fresher after that.
Saltwater relieves the pain of a sore throat or canker sore. Dissolve two teaspoons of salt into 1/4 cup of water and swish it around your mouth for at least 20 seconds. After the salt kills the germs in your mouth, you should feel less pain.
Use Salt As A Pesticide
If you don’t like the harsh chemicals found in bug sprays, you can shoo the pests away with a natural alternative. Salt will deter many insects in your home, namely ants. Sprinkle salt across your door and window frames to prevent ants from entering your home.
Salt may not kill them, but it will repel some insects. Vinegar is another ant repellent, so if you don’t mind the smell, you can mix salt and vinegar to create the ultimate anti-ant shield. You may need to reapply this mixture since it wears off over time.
Turn Your Clothes Colorfast
Colorfast clothes are fabrics that retain their color after washing. If your clothing item has faded after washing, you can use salt prevent this from happening. For this reason, textile companies often use salt, and you can too.
Pour 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of vinegar into 1/2 gallon of water. Soak your garment in there and swish it around gently every couple of hours. As the salt soaks into the fabric, it’ll set the color in place. After 24 hours, remove your clothing and rinse it with cold water. Repeat if needed.
Salt Makes Cooking Eggs Easier
Whether you’re hard-boiling eggs or poaching them, add some mix to the mix. When you boil your eggs, add salt to the water. Not only will it raise the temperature faster, but the solution will also lift up the shell. This makes eggs much easier to peel.
There is also evidence that salt prevents eggs from cracking by allowing the egg to set. This helps a lot with poaching. When you poach eggs, add salt to the water. The solution will keep the egg whites together, allowing your dish to cook evenly.
Is Your Egg Safe To Eat?
Before you cook your eggs, you need to check if they’re still safe to eat. How do you do so? You guessed it: salt water. Dissolve two tablespoons of salt into two cups of water, then drop the egg in. If it sinks, it’s good to eat. If it floats, it’s doubtful.
There’s science behind this density. Salt raises water’s density enough so that bad eggs will float. When eggs decay, their yolk disappears and gets replaced by air. This makes them less dense than saltwater, indicating that your egg is bad.
Control Potato Texture With Salt
Most people like to salt their potatoes for improved taste. But master chefs know that salting a potato can elevate or ruin its texture, depending on how you use it. For instance, boiling potatoes in saltwater softens them. Because the potato gravitates toward saltier water via osmosis, the salt chips away at the potato.
Salt can improve the texture of fries as well. Before you fry your potatoes, soak them in saltwater for several hours. The salt pulls out potato starch, which results in crunchier french fries.
Remove That “Burnt” Oven Smell
Have you ever turned on your oven only to smell that “burned food” odor? There’s a simple way to remove that smell without using cleaning chemicals. To clean your oven, mix 1/8 cup of salt with 1/8 cup of baking soda and one tablespoon of dishwasher soap. Apply the solution to your oven let it sit for 20 minutes. Then wipe it off.
If you spill something in your oven, cover it with a generous amount of salt while the oven is still warm. Once it cools down, scrub the stain away. For a more pleasant smell, mix some cinnamon with the salt.
Deodorize Your Refrigerator
Because refrigerators are always slightly damp, they’re difficult to clean. Many people don’t want harsh cleaning chemicals in the same place they store their food. Yes, salt cleans the inside of your fridge, too. Mix a handful of salt with one gallon of warm water. Soak a sponge in the solution, and scrub away.
Unlike other cleaners, saltwater isn’t too abrasive. It’ll remove the stains without scratching the enamel. If you want to remove the odor as well, add some lemon juice to the mixture. Of course, remove all food items before you tackle your cleaning regimen.
De-Tarnish Your Silverware Without Polishing It
Because salt is a gentle exfoliator, it won’t harm delicate metals such as silver and copper. To remove tarnish from silverware, boil water and place aluminum foil at the bottle. Pour two tablespoons of salt and two tablespoons of baking soda into the water. The silverware should not be touching. Leave your silverware in for two to five minutes, then remove and rinse. The tarnish should disappear.
These items produce a chemical reaction called ion exchange, which converts tarnish back to silver. The sulfide becomes aluminum sulfide on the foil, which means that you won’t have to polish any of your items.
Clean Your Copper, Too
Over time, copper tools tarnish and stain. If you want a natural remedy to clean your copper, here’s one. Stir one tablespoon of salt into one cup of white vinegar. Soak a cloth in the mixture and use it to rub the stain away.
If you want to clean the entire pot, add the salt-vinegar mixture to three cups of boiling water. Immerse the entire pot or pan and boil it until all the grime washes off. Once it looks clean, let it cool, and then wash it gently with soap and water.
Get Rid Of Nasty Smells In Containers
Containers hang on to odors for a long time. Plastic Tupperware and water bottles may still smell like your curry lunch long after washing. To remove this smell, sprinkle some salt into the container. Cover your container with a lid and leave it overnight. Remember to wash out the salt in the morning!
Salt naturally absorbs odors, which is why it’s used in several cleaning products. You can squirt some lemon in your salt for a fresher smell, but do that at the end, not overnight.
Brighten And Purify Your Wooden Cutting Board
As food particles sink into the grooves of and nicks of cutting boards, they begin to smell over time. Salt can remove these tiny food scraps and brighten your board’s color. This technique works best with fine table salt that can exfoliate inside of the cuts.
Cover your cutting board with salt and rub it with a warm, damp washcloth. After you’ve thoroughly scrubbed your board, wipe off the remaining salt and wash it regularly with sudsy water. Your cutting board should look and smell like new. If it doesn’t, repeat the process until it does.
Prevent Food From Sticking To A Pan Or Dish
Salt provides a rough layer that prevents food from sticking to a pan. After you wash your griddle or waffle iron, sprinkle it with salt. Add salt to an already warm oven or skillet before using, and then dust it off. Your next meal should not stick to the pan.
If it’s too late and your food is already clinging, you can remove it with salt. Sprinkle salt on your dish and rub it with a damp cloth in circular motions. Then wash the dish as usual. It should become a lot easier to clean.
Clean Fragile Wicker Baskets
Wicker baskets are difficult to clean. Not only are they fragile, but they also contain many grooves that are hard to work around. You can clean wicker baskets with salt to prevent them from yellowing.
You can clean wicker baskets by scrubbing them with a stiff brush soaked in warm saltwater. To get in between the grooves, clean your wicker basket with dry salt. Pour salt into a large bag and place your wicker basket into it. Shake it to let the salt remove any dust or debris.
Extend The Life Of Your Broom
Do you want your broom to last a long time? You can extend the life of your broom with salt water. For this trick to work, you need to do it before you put your broom to use. Otherwise, you’ll have soggy dust on your broom.
To start, fill a bucket with hot water. Add some salt, about 1/2 cup or one cup depending on how big your bucket is. Dip your broom (brush side) into the water and leave it for 20 minutes. Remove, and let it dry before you try sweeping.
Help Your Brass Shine Again
Like silver and copper, brass benefits greatly from a good salt rub. Mix 1/2 cup of salt with one cup of white vinegar. To create a thicker paste, add some flour to the mixture. You can either drip your brass tool into the mix, or rub it on a cloth. Let the paste sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the time is up, rub off the paste gently with a damp, lukewarm cloth. The vinegar and salt create a chemical reaction that soaks up all tarnish, similar to how people clean silverware with salt.
Brush Off Mineral Deposits From Fish Tanks
Fish tanks often leave residue from mineral deposits. These can be hard to clean off, but you can use salt and vinegar to rub it off. Mix the two ingredients similar to the brass cleaning solution. Paste it on your fish tank, and rub it with soft scrubbing pads. Of course, empty your fish tank before you do this!
Rinse your tank fully before you bring your fish in, especially if it’s a freshwater tank. If it’s a saltwater tank, you’ll still want to rinse it thoroughly to remove all traces of vinegar.
Loosen Soot In Your Chimney
We’ve already covered how salt can put out a grease fire in large quantities. But you can also burn salt to loosen soot inside of your chimney. If you own a brick fireplace, you may want to use table salt to remove soot stains.
When you have a fire going, feed the flames a few tablespoons of salt. The fire should burn with gorgeous yellow flames. After you safely put out the fire, you will be able to clean soot easier. This can improve airflow and aid fire safety.
Rid Your Tools Of Rust With Lemon And Salt
Rust infects everything from razors to cars to lawnmowers. You can scrub the rust away with a mixture of salt and lemon juice. Squeeze two tablespoons of lemon juice and stir in six tablespoons of salt. Apply the paste to the rusted area and rub it in a circular motion. When you’re done, rinse the area thoroughly.
If you want to use a different method, try this. Rub salt over the rusted area and squeeze lemon juice over it. Leave it for two to three hours. Then, scrub it off with steel wool or a scourer.
Diffuse Coffee And Condensation Rings
If you place a hot or cold dish on a table, you’ll often see a whitish residue left behind. These are condensation rings, and getting them out of your wood can be tricky. Both condensation and coffee rings will disappear with a particular salt mixture.
Sprinkle salt over the condensation ring, and leave it for one to two minutes. The salt will soak up the moisture, making it easier to clean. Afterward, dip a rag or sponge in light cooking oil. Gently message the ring away and dry it with a fresh cloth. This method won’t harm wooden furniture.
Destroy Weeds That Grow Out Of Cracks
Do you have weeds that peek through the cracks of brick or concrete? These are difficult to uproot like normal weeds. Yes, salt helps with this too. Because salt soaks up moisture, it kills plants by dehydrating the soil and their roots.
Pour salt in between the cracks where the weed is. Then, pour hot water over it; this should kill the weeds quickly. If you want to kill poison ivy, mix three pounds of sea salt with one gallon of soapy water. Spray the leaves and stem, and the poison ivy should wilt within days.
Melt Ice And Snow
Salt causes “freezing point depression” in water. In other words, it lowers the freezing point and, consequently, the melting point of snow and ice. If you’re struggling with ice or snow on your car, driveway, or porch, it’s time to whip out the salt.
Dust the icy location with rock salt. It’ll prevent ice from bonding to the pavement and help you remove it. Be careful on lawns, since salt can kill your plants. To stop ice from clinging to your windshields, wash your car with lukewarm saltwater.